The Businessmen's Butch Cuts by Manny
"It's his favorite visit to the barber shop," the handsome middle-aged man said as his son scampered up the sturdy metal foot rest and took a seat in the huge chair that was facing away from the mirror. As he did, the thick, floppy bowl cut shimmered under the neon lights. The lad flicked the heavy bangs away from his hazel colored eyes.
"So school's out and you're ready for your summer butch, Bobby?" the barber asked cheerfully as he cast the large, snowy white cape through the air.
The lad nodded eagerly.
"Let's see what we can do about this?" the barber chuckled as he tussled the shiny locks. "Seems like you've been too busy to come by for your regular trims of late." Then he brushed the bowlcut down nice and tidy. It was so overgrown! The bangs reached down to Bobby's ruddy cheeks, almost.
"A #2 all over or down to the wood this year?" the barber asked the father.
"What do you want, Bobby?" the father asked.
"A #2 this year," came the reply.
With that, the barber lift the heavy bangs with a comb and brought the clippers straight to the heavy, glistening locks. With a firm, determined drive, the first shank of Bobby's locks slipped off his head and tumbled down to his shoulder.
"Timber!" exclaimed the father softly.
Unexpectedly, he turned to me and commented, "Too bad summer butch cuts aren't for grown men like us. We're prisoners to the unwritten grooming codes of the office."
I smiled faintly, observing the immaculately combed business cut the father sported. So full on top with a slight wave and neatly trimmed around the ears. His hair was the same lovely honey-color as his son's.
"Well, work your way up the hierarchy and when you're the boss, you can have your summer butch!" I replied, secretly excited by the thought of the handsome man shedding his perfect business cut for an old-fashioned butch.
"Several years ago, when I was between jobs, I actually got one! Walked out of here with just a hint of stubble! Remember that, Philip?" the man asked the barber.
"Sure do, Roger! You told me that being unemployed meant you had to cut back on your expenses. One haircut for the whole summer instead of every two to three weeks," the barber replied.
"My wife wasn't wild about the look, however, Said I would never get a decent job looking like Bobby with a clipped head at the beginning of summer. But she did enjoy rubbing the bristles. And I loved the feeling of the hand stroking against the grain," Roger said wistfully.
Suddenly, Roger's attention turned to the barber chair. "Wow! Look at all that hair on the cape, Bobby! Too bad we can't turn all that into a nice, warm sweater."
The barber had the lad's head held firmly in a vice-like grip as he finished clearing the thatch off from around the ears. "This is a very practical haircut for hot, humid summers." Then he looked up from his work, pausing, and addressed the lad's father. "What do you say, Roger? I think you're warming up to the idea for a butch yourself this year!"
Roger laughed off the idea without responding.
The barber finished tidying up the boy's butch and then began unfastening the cape.
Roger stood and looked at himself intently in the mirror, as if he were considering a butch. Then he toyed around with his silken locks before commenting, "Bobby looks great -- so tidy and cool. That bowl cut was way out of control!"
The lad bounded down from the chair, feeling his clipped head. His father stroked it playfully.
"Who's next?" the barber asked, suddenly looking at me.
"I believe he is," I said, motioning towards Roger. "He's getting a summer butch, just like his son's."
Roger turned and flashed me a big smile. "I sure am tempted. There's nothing quite like walking out of here with nothing but stubble." He stared at himself in the mirror again, "Why not?" Then he addressed his son, "We'll surprise Mom when we both walk into the house with butch cuts!" The lad beamed.
Without another word, Roger mounted the barber chair and took a seat. He was clearly excited. Or was it nervous? "Okay, Phil, give me a summer butch! Just like Bobby's!"
Phil smiled widely. "Excellent choice. I've been hoping to put an end to this fussy little business cut of yours for a long time!" The barber took the liberty of smoothing down Phil's hair as he sat nervously in the chair. Then the cape flew through the air. Roger now had no path of retreat. He would get butched!
Phil took the big set of clippers in his hands. "A #2 all right for you?" he asked.
Roger upped the ante. "You know what? Take me down a notch. Give me a #1 all over."
"That'll be mighty short," the barber warned.
Roger squirmed under the cape but remained silent.
Then, I watched in awe as the barber plunged the screaming machine into the thick mane of perfectly brushed, trimmed hair. The metal teeth chewed a path right down the center of Roger's quivering head! The barber pushed the huge clump of hair right off the back. His head looked like the parted Red Sea with high padding of hair on either side of the clipped strip.
Phil quickly mowed off another strip. It was amazing how quickly the business cut succumbed to the fast-feed clippers. With just two swipes of the clippers, I already had a fairly good idea of what the handsome father would look like with a butch. More youthful and innocent.....
Roger smiled nervously as he watched his hair fall past his face.
Then the barber clamped his hand atop the clipped top and forced Roger's head down low, so that his chin almost touched his chest. The vestiges of the business cut were clipped off the back.
Then my view was obstructed as the barber stepped between me and his caped client. By the time the barber moved so that I could watch the action again, Roger had been clipped into a full baldy. Nothing of his business look remained on his head.
"How am I looking?" he asked me from the chair.
"Amazing! The baldy look suits you. The two of you almost look like brothers now," I laughed.
"They sure do!" the barber added as he playfully rubbed the stubble. "Sure you don't want me to take you all the way down to zero? Down to the wood, Rog?"
He spun the chair toward the mirror. Roger's reaction was priceless. "Holy s**t! That's short! Jane is going to freak." His shock expression remained frozen in place for several seconds.
Just then, my cell phone went off. It was a call I needed to take. "This might take a while, so don't hold my place if someone else should come," I told the barber.
"By the way, nice butch cut," I told Roger as I left. He smiled weakly, still unsure about his impromptu decision to get a butch.
I walked down the sidewalk to the corner, engaging in the business call from a client, and then turn to amble back toward the shop.
A few minutes later I watched the father and son emerge from the shop. Roger kept rubbing his head and smiling widely. He certainly looked a lot younger and every bit as handsome. He looked more rugged, less sophisticated, with the butch.
My heart beat wildly.....could I?....could I get butched too?! I had long wished to dispense with my fussy business cut but never had the balls to instruct the barber to clip it off.
The call ended just as the pair approached me.
"So, what do you think?" Roger asked, rubbing his head. "I'm a bit nervous about going to work tomorrow. Everyone is going to have a hay day, making fun of my butch cut."
The feeling of vulnerability he exuded made me want to pile on. "You had such nice hair....quite brave of you to have it all shaved off," I said, knowing the comment would enhance his apprehension. "The butch makes you look boyish. Were you aiming for a more youthful look?"
Roger's eyes flashed with mischievous charm. "You certainly could benefit from a haircut that took a few years off your looks, Buddy. Is that a bit of gray developing on top? A butch would put an end to that creeping, middle-age, tired look you've got going," Roger taunted.
I ran my fingers through my hair nervously. "The truth is, I've been thinking about getting a butch myself. But I'm kind of nervous. Not sure I could go through with it on my own," I said, shifting awkwardly on my feet.
"Bobby, here's five dollars -- go get yourself an ice cream at the corner and eat it on that bench there. This fellow here needs my help," he said, handing his son some money. "We'll be in the barber shop."
The lad ran away happily and Roger took me by the arm, leading me firmly back to the shop. "You just leave this to me, understand?" he hissed in a jokingly stern tone.
We entered the shop to find it still empty, except for the unoccupied barber.
"Go ahead and take a seat. But put that phone of yours on silent. I don't like patrons chatting on the phone while I'm cutting their hair," the barber said to me.
Then he addressed Roger. "Did you forget something?"
"No, I came back to give my new friend here some moral support. It'll be his first butch cut!" Roger chirped gleefully. He was preying on my nerves.
"Three butch cuts in a row!" the barber remarked as he patted the chair impatiently, urging me to take a seat. I could tell he was itching to plow the clippers into my fussy business cut.
I hesitated, looking at myself apprehensively in the mirror. What had I gotten myself entangled into? I felt very vulnerable.
"He wants a baldy. Down to the wood!" Roger announced.
My head swiveled about and looked at him with a panicked expression.
Roger grinned widely and pointed to the chair. He was obviously enjoying himself.
I complied nervously and mounted the metal foot rest. The upholstery, which had always seemed very comfortable, felt as inhospitable as a bed of nails.
Roger played with my long, floppy bangs a bit. "Do you lather shave heads here, Phil?"
"Sure do! That machine there is brimming with warm sudsy foam. Are you thinking about a shiny bald head for him? These balding clippers will all but obliterate that prissy business cut!" the barber exclaimed.
"He wants every vestige of it scraped off!" Roger instructed. "Don't you, my friend?"
I gulped and concurred timidly, "Yes, scraped clean."
In a flash, the barber had me pinned into submission with a tight grip. I clenched the arms of the chair tightly and braced myself for the makeover. The clippers struck without a glimmer of mercy, chewing off my hair right down to the scalp. I watched Roger enjoying the show. He looked very handsome with his butch. I felt grateful for his initiative in taking me down to zero.